The Practical Devil

An abortion, I recently argued, is the sacrifice that the Devil demands in return for the passing pleasures of godless sex.  That is why we abortion fighters must find a better attack than the argument “abortion kills babies.”  Of course it kills babies.  That’s the whole point.

In his book “The Everlasting Man,” Chesterton has an extremely cogent chapter entitled “The Demons and the Philosophers.”  I owe my current thoughts on the abortion problem to Chesterton’s writings, especially that sixth chapter of his book.  Chesterton realized something I had missed.  Rationalistic societies tend to decay into diabolical ones (for instance, the ancient Mayans, whose high civilization preceded the worst of its gory decadence).  And, when a society becomes diabolic, “a man deliberately sets himself to do the most disgusting thing he can think of.  It is felt that the extreme of evil will extort a sort of attention or answer from the evil powers under the surface of the world.”

This tendency explains how, in a very rationalistic society such as 20th Century America, there arose abortion, increasingly brutal murders, and the unfathomably bloody acts lived out vicariously by watching popular horror films.

How does a society make the jump from rationalism to diabolism?  For Chesterton, it is caused by the practical mindset that comes with rationalism.  “A sort of desperate impulse drove men to the darker powers when dealing with practical problems.  There was a sort of secret and perverse feeling that the darker powers would really do things; that they had no nonsense about them…the man consulting a demon felt as many a man has felt in consulting a detective…that it was dirty work but the work would really be done.”

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